When I was planning my move to England, I had a completely unrealistic set of expectations. Actually I only had one assumption about living here. I thought it would be just like America, only with a British accent.
How wrong I was.
Anyone reading this blog might assume that I don’t like it here much, due to the amount of ranting I do about it. But I LOVE LOVE it here. I would never consider moving back to the States. I am here to stay, and my children will grow up thoroughly British. Yes, they wont know the words to the star-spangled banner, and that makes me feel all weird and knotty inside, but they will have an excellent education in a beautiful, safe, accepting and inclusive country.
But I will do a lot of bitching, ranting and sometimes despairing about adjusting to living here. It is so massively different. My first two weeks here I was completely helpless. Completely. I couldn’t drive, couldn’t work the key to my front door, or the kettle, or the boiler, or the busses, or the money, my oven, the light switches. the power outlets, the washing machine…you get the idea. It was really shocking and I was so overwhelmed by being confused about everything all around me.
For the next few months I gradually learned the basics, but I often felt that I would never truly get the hang of live here. I felt like I would be an incompetent outsider forever.
It is a common stereotype that British food is awful. It isn’t. It is lovely. Really homey and tasty. But my kids? They wouldn’t eat anything here. There was not one thing on any of the shelves at the shops that looked even remotely like food, never mind familiar food.
We lived on string cheese and chips. (crisps? I cant even work the WORDS)
I enrolled them in the local school. I had been homeschooling them in Detroit. It just wasnt safe to send them to school and the quality of the schools was appalling. They brought home a school lunch menu. I ..just…stared. Some of the words on the menu we completely incomprehensible. Bubble and squeak? Sponge with custard? Crunchy flapjacks? Spotted dick? Steak and kidney pie? WTF? Is this stuff even food?
Needless to say, that took a lot of adjusting on their part.